Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Screenplay by: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon
King Leonidas – “Madness?This is Sparta!”
What makes a man a man? Is it his muscles?Is it the length of his beard?Or is it his determination?In Sparta they knew the answer, because they shaped and structured their way of life around the development of the males.Oh and not just men; but manly men!Clad in crotch-hugging pants, bad-ass boots and more ripped than a torn copy of Men’s Health, the men of Sparta were rough, gruff and firmly set at the extreme end of the male scale.The men of Sparta were also the subject of the movie 300, which was based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley and was a blood splattering beast of a film, that was part WWE Wrestling and part Nuts magazine.It was a film that pushed the ultimate bunch of he-men (all 300 of them) beyond their limits, and in essence 300 was an extended fight scene stretched over two hours with a mix of biceps, bravery and butch blokes.It was also a movie that told the story of the Spartans battle with the Persians at Thermopylae as they defended a threat to their way of life.
From an early age the Spartans developed their young males into fierce and fearless soldiers so that when they came of age they were as strong as the next man.It may have sounded brutal, and at times it was, but it was a tradition designed to produce only the best of the best, for the survival of the fittest.The result was a Spartan male who embodied everything deemed ‘manly’; his bravery, his stubbornness and his desire to get the job done even when the odds were stacked against him.It sounds sexist, but that was the beauty of 300, it wasn’t a movie for the politically correct crowd, it was a movie for guys (and girls...The Comics Code isn’t sexist) who weren’t afraid of a bit of sweat and a lot of action.The point was to show that King Leonidas (Butler) wasn’t afraid to fight for what he believed was right and so when Xerxes (Santoro) and his Persian army were planning on taking control of Sparta, he led his men to stand in their way.He was outnumbered, he was betrayed by former Spartan Ephialtes (Tiernan) and his army was weakened; but he battled on.He didn’t give up even though he knew it would be the end; as he made a promise to his people that he would see it through and the idea of quitting never entered his mind.That’s not to say that being a man...a real man, was about being a brave hero, but 300 was about boiling down what would be expected of a man in the traditional sense, if all his focus was on making sure he was a primal force.Whether fighting against a Persian army or putting together flat-pack furniture the idea of a male can change depending upon perception, so there really is no one true definition.It’s as confusing for men as it is for women, because no one man is truly the same, but it you really want to understand what it’s like to be a manly man, then whack on a codpiece and get out your broadsword!
THE SUM OF ITS PARTS: A guide to 300 King Leonidas + 299 Spartans + a bunch of Arcadians and assorted Greeks + The Persians = One big-ass fight!
ACTION MEN: *Dominic West played the traitorous Theron in 300, but it wasn’t his only comic-book movie appearance as he played Jigsaw in the awful Punisher: Warzone (2008).
*Most of the movie was shot on a sound stage and made use of a lot of blue and green screen techno wizardry, but despite the effects jiggery-pokery the stars of the movie had to undergo intense training to give them washboard abs!
*Only one of the 300 Spartan’s survived the battle and that was Dilios, who was sent back by Leonidas to lead another Spartan force.
*300 was made by Legendary Pictures, who also made Batman Begins (2005), Superman Returns (2006) and The Dark Knight (2008).
*Director Zack Snyder also directed Watchmen (2009).